Buried in this story is the following, very interesting nugget:
In an ominous sign for proponents, Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee that none of the bills he has seen would contain health care costs to reduce them significantly over time. This is the main argument offered by Obama and Democrats as to why Congress can spend $1 trillion and save money.
“In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount,” Elmendorf said.
“And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”
I await further commentary at the CBO blog. But yeah, this isn’t good news for advocates of the current health care reform bills. I can’t remember which story noted this, but since health care reform was going to become such a big topic, former CBO Director–and current OMB Director–Peter Orszag increased the number of health care experts and economists on staff at CBO so that bills could get scored quicker and with a great deal more accuracy.
Bet Orszag regrets having done that now.
UPDATE: More here on CBO’s estimates.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The pertinent part of the exchange between Elmendorf and Senator Kent Conrad, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.